11/15/2006: "A trip to the mountains"
As I have stated in prior posts, there is not a lot going on here, therefore I havenít been posting. However, this last weekend was the exception.
Because I now work at a school, I have more holidays and other days off then I used to have. Last Friday the school was closed for Veterans Day so I had a three day weekend. Since we have not seen any other parts of North Carolina since we moved here Cori arranged to have Friday off also and we headed for the mountains. We headed out on Thursday after work and spent the night with friends in Raleigh giving us a head start for the drive on Friday. We had chosen to stay in Boone which is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is not too far of a drive from Raleigh. We got in around mid-afternoon and checked out downtown Boone and grabbed a late lunch. On the way I realized I had forgotten the camera so we had a stop at Best Buy and picked up a new camera. Watch for more pictures to be posted. For dinner we went for Barbeque and Blues, and then went to another place that was supposed to have music. I say Ďsupposed toí because when the band started it was, letís just say they were not real good. Maybe they got better as the night went on but we didnít stay to find out.
We got an early start on Saturday with a trip to Grandfather Mountain, a drive to Blowing Rock and a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Grandfather Mountain is a state park with an observation area at one mile above sea level. The view is spectacular, unfortunately we were too late for the fall colors and the leaves were off the trees. Depending on the direction you looked you either saw rows of mountains going off into the distance shrouded in haze, or houses and condos built up the mountainside. It seems everyone wants a house in the mountains and new houses are going up on any available piece of land. They have a nice museum and animal habitat area with eagles, bears, deer, otters and panthers. Blowing rock is a small artsy community that is filled with B&Bís, Innís, Lodges, and Cabins. It was our first choice of where to stay but we couldnít find anyplace on short notice. The shops have a large variety of whatever they think you canít live without, leaning strongly on items that you ďhaveĒ to have if you are furnishing your mountain home. I bought a new Tilly hat since my old one is looking pretty scruffy. After lunch we took a drive north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway is a 45 mile an hour, two lane road that starts in Virginia and ends in Georgia and is actually a national park. It has no businesses, gas stations, malls or anything on it. What it does have is one scenic overlook after another, most with some very impressive views. We didnít get very far north since I had to stop at every turn-off I came to. Eventually it started to get dark and we had to turn around. Arriving back at Blowing Rock Cori hit the Outlet Mall looking for new clothes. Unfortunately, with her disciplined work out schedule the warm clothes that were in storage no longer fit and need to be replaced, causing the need to go shopping.
Did I mention that the weather was absolutely beautiful? Highs were in the low 70ís with lots of sunshine. We even used the air conditioning on the drive out. There was a cold front expected to come through Saturday evening bringing with it rain and cold winds. I was greeted with blowing snow when I went out in the morning. We had planned a drive south on the Parkway in the morning then looping around to catch the interstate for the drive home. The drive along the Parkway was pretty with the new snow but the view was obscured by the blowing snow at the higher elevations. As we worked our way down we drove out of the snow and rain and spent a good share of the day in the warm sunshine again.
Did I mention there was another Outlet Mall on the way home?
When we got home we found that the wind had blown strongly out of the Southwest all day and the water was the lowest I think I have ever seen, at least two to three feet lower then normal. We dragged everything back on board and quit for the night. During the night the wind shifted to Northeast and the water was back to normal with the deck about even with the dock.
Monday morning it was back to work as usual.